Final is anything but a Close run thing

First published in Sport

A controlled performance by the man from the Cabin End A Kev Close, saw him overcome Michael Webster (Bee Hive A) in the 2014 Blackburn and District Pool League Singles Final Once these two players reached the final, memories came flooding back of their battle in early 2013, where a tense final frame decider saw Close overcome Webster 5-4 in a thriller.

After a late start due to Close being called to work, Frame One began perhaps predictably slowly. Three consecutive unintentional fouls, didn’t help either player settle in, and it was Webster who took the first real opportunity to clear up and lead 1-0.

Frame Two saw a massive break from Close, potting four balls, and despite not managing to clear at the first attempt, he was always in control, and took the frame to level at 1-1.

Webster, who’s break wasn’t working at top notch broke dry despite a good split, and Close had first option on the colours, he was probably slight favourite for the frame, but a failure to hit a cushion from Webster, gave Close the window he needed to clear the table and lead for the first time at 2-1.

The next frame was the longest and probably a big factor in deciding the outcome of the match, a tactical battle in which Close always seemed to have the upper hand, was well fought by the younger player, however his attempt to move his final ball saw Mick knock his opponents last object ball in, giving Close two shots on the eight ball and a 3-1 lead.

Frame Five once again saw Webster fail to pot off the break and despite leaving the cue ball in the jaws of the bottom corner pocket, a great split of the balls meant that Webster’s ability to make a ball with again gave him control of the table, before taking out a good finish.

Close made a ball off the break again in Frame Six, and despite missing an early opportunity to clear, Webster’s failure once again to hit a cushion allowed the more senior man to cover both bottom pockets and leave his rival in trouble.

Despite managing to snooker himself on his last ball, Close knew an escape would pot that ball and give him a shot at the black, he duly obliged, and despite the eight ball not being the easiest middle pocket pot with the cue ball very near the corner, he held his nerve to sink the final ball and win the match 5-1.

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